On the news this morning, the attempts by both Romney and Obama to gain Latino voter support caught my attention. Immediately, I assumed the Latino voters would support Obama, but then I realized I do not know much about either candidate’s immigration policy. I decided to investigate further.
Both candidates have focused on the economy; that much has been clear. Yet both candidates agree that immigration is a large part of the economy. So why has immigration not been discussed and debated more, if it is such a large part of the economy? First, I decided to investigate both Obama and Romney’s websites to compare their stance on the issue.
On Romney’s page, the concept of “growing legal immigration” and “discouraging illegal immigration” predominated. By “growing legal immigration,” Romney aims to attract “high-skilled immigrants” to aid the growth and development of our science and technology sectors. However, he wants to discourage illegal immigration by eliminating any “magnets” that may attract immigrants to the U.S. One of these “magnets” he would destroy is in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.
The hypocrisy in those two statements tremendously frustrates me. Romney wants to bring immigrants to the U.S. to receive an education and/or hold jobs in the science and technology sectors, yet he wants to deny immigrants who call the United States home that same opportunity? Education is a positive externality; everyone benefits from having a more educated population, including the economy. Education leads to innovation, development, and growth, which Romney claims to support. In my opinion, he is excluding a large portion of the population that could aid this growth.
What does Obama say? Well, of course Obama issued an executive order, which allows illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to obtain drivers licenses, work legally, and obtain an education without fear of deportation (but does not grant permanent citizenship). Obama also states that, “we must out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world,” and, “stop punishing innocent young people.” In my opinion, the two go hand in hand.
When asked if he would deport those immigrants would be protected under the Dream Act, Romney replied, “Well, they’re — they’re — they’re not deported immediately today. And — and that’s not, that has not been the practice. My practice is to make sure these people have a permanent understanding and a solution to this issue” (CNN News).
So what DOES Romney plan to do? He doesn’t seem to outline clear goals, probably knowing it will lead to little support from Latino voters, widening the already substantial gap in support among Latino voters even more.
Immigration is complex and multi-faceted, but I simply do not see the logic in Romney’s plan to attract “high-skilled immigrants” while denying other immigrants the same opportunity.
Paige Dow, Politics 101